Hungarian Goulash

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Hungarian Goulash is a delicious beef stew (or soup) with a rich paprika seasoned broth. This delicious dish is warm and comforting, perfect for a cold weather day.

Serve this over homemade noodles (or add potatoes) or with a side of bread or Biscuits to sop up any of the broth left in your bowl.

Overhead shot of Hungarian Goulash

Now that it’s autumn, the only real way to stay warm is this delicious Hungarian Goulash (gulyás). Homemade goulash is a staple in our family, and could not be more comforting as the sun turns to snow!

In this easy Hungarian Goulash recipe, tender chunks of beef, onions and tomatoes are simmered to tender perfection in a savory beef broth. YUM!  While I most often simmer this on the stove, you can also make this easy Hungarian Goulash in the oven. A house filled with the aromas of this stew is probably the most comforting way to say goodbye to my patio until next summer!

White bowl of Hungarian Goulash with two slices of bread in it

What Is Goulash?

Well for starters, it is one of the most delicious comfort food that exists (it’s up there with my oldest daughter’s favorite appetizer, jalapeno popper dip). A traditional Hungarian Goulash is a soup or stew that is usually filled with tender beef and onions spiced with paprika.

Many versions add other vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, and tomatoes.

It dates back centuries and was originally made by shepherds drying out meat to be able to store and then adding water to create a soup or stew. Everyone seems to have their own way of making this dish and adds different veggies. Regardless, Hungarian Goulash is very different from an American Goulash Recipe which is more of a tomato, beef and macaroni dish (and also sometimes known as American Chop Suey).

Goulash is seasoned with paprika and other fragrant spices like caraway seeds and sometimes even cajun! You will almost always find red meat in a Hungarian goulash, and because it is simmered at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, it is the perfect way to use a cheaper cut of meat and save some money!

Ladle full of Hungarian Goulash

How To Make Goulash

To make the perfect Hungarian goulash you’ll want to start with onions and beef as the base and plenty of Hungarian Paprika! Fry the onions in butter until they are translucent.

Add the beef to the pan and sear it on all sides. Next, deglaze the pan by slowly adding the beef broth to it. Once deglazed, add the tomatoes and broth and season to taste.

Bring the Hungarian goulash to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover it, and simmer it for about an hour and a half (this is where it starts to smell like heaven throughout your house). Serve the goulash on its own or over spaetzle or spooned over Mashed Potatoes! We always serve it with bread or 30 Minute Dinner Rolls to sop up any leftover gravy.

What is Hungarian Paprika

Paprika is made from grinding up dried peppers. Peppers can range from hot to mild, so paprika will vary from region to region. In a lot of American cooking like deviled eggs, paprika is mainly used as a garnish.

In Hungarian cooking, paprika is usually used to flavor the dish instead of a garnish. Some paprika is smoked, some may be sweet, some may be mild, and some may have a stronger flavor. In Hungarian cooking, usually a mild to sweet paprika is used.

Bowl of Hungarian Goulash with bread slices in it

Hungarian goulash freezes perfectly, making it ideal to make in batches for the winter. I love quickly warming up a single serving of this goulash recipe for a quick lunch or dinner!

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Overhead shot of Hungarian Goulash
4.95 from 370 votes
Review Recipe

Hungarian Goulash

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 servings
Tender beef and potatoes in a beefy broth seasoned with paprika.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 teaspoons butter or lard (preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 ½ pound stewing beef trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes canned
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Optional

  • 1 ½ cup carrots optional
  • 3 cups potatoes optional

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Instructions

  • In a large pot, melt butter and add onion. Cook till translucent. Stir in caraway seeds and paprika and mix well.
  • In a bowl, dredge the stew beef with flour. Add beef to the onion mixture and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Slowly add about ¼ cup of the beef broth to lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining broth, diced tomatoes (potatoes and carrots if using), salt and pepper. 
  • Stir and bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer for about 1 ½ -2 hours or until tender.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 427, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 662mg, Potassium: 1188mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 6585IU, Vitamin C: 20.5mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 7mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Hungary

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Ladle of Hungarian Goulash with writing

Hungarian goulash with writing
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

  1. Ez egy bizonyára nagyon ízletes étel, de ennek semmi köze a magyar gulyáshoz!!! A gulyás eredetileg egy híg leves, amelyben marhahús, hagyma, sárgarépa, fehérrépa, zeller és krumpli van, illetve 1 darab paradicsom és 1 darab magyar sárgapaprika. Fűszerek: só, bors,kömény, babérlevél, fokhagyma, petrezselyem, zellerlevél. Ez nem pörkölt!!! Az egy teljesen más étel! Én magyar vagyok, úgyhogy tudom.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Gyulai! Thank you for sharing that information about Hungarian Goulash. We appreciate it!

  2. Love goulash and love this recipe. I do notice though mine ends up being a bit more soupy then I’d like. Any thoughts on ways to thicken it up some?

    1. Hi John, to make a little thicker, you could increase the flour slightly. Or if it isn’t thick enough towards the end of cooking you could add a flour and water mixture then to thicken it.

  3. Ad a good dollop of soured cream and some chopped fresh coriander along with a couple of quartered boiled eggs as an accompaniment

  4. I’m excited to try this!! I’ve never made goulash before. Can it simmer longer than a couple of hours without drying out? I’m wondering if I could make it in the morning and simmer it all day like a traditional stew. Also, I’ve never cooked with caraway seeds – do you crush them first or add them whole? Thank you! :)

    1. Hi Bri, I have never tried simmering this recipe all day so I would love to hear how it turns out for you. I would maybe add a little extra liquid to ensure it doesn’t dry out. We add the caraway seeds as is in step 1. Hope that helps :)

      1. I’m originally from Germany where the goulash is similar to the Hungarian one, I simmered it for 5 hours to get the meat TENDER!!! I added a cup of broth every hour especially when it started thickening up. AMAZING! Gonna be a household recipe here in this house!5 stars

  5. First time ever making goulash and this was a good recipe to start with, definitely a go to. I followed the recipe as written. Per the butcher’s recommendation we used top sirloin which was a great choice – not too fatty, perfectly tender at the end of cooking. My observation – 3# is a lot of meat, so we used a 9 qt Dutch oven, could have used a bit larger but it worked. Used regular hungarian paprika, at the end we spiced it up with a little extra pepper, salt and some spicy paprika. I think next time will sub 1/4 of the paprika with spicy and up the salt and pepper a bit – personal choice. The sauce thickened perfectly. I am now confident I can cook goulash well enough to serve to guests!5 stars

  6. Wow, this was tasty! My five year old inhaled it – he’s a meat lover. And we used organic beef shanks instead of veal, but the result was the same: a taste sensation.5 stars

  7. Our friend used garlic too and onion for the goulash and lots of Paprika. plus lots of fresh cracked pepper and fresh carrots too. also and Dad would talk him in using filet for the meat that was aged 60 days . Man what a dish that was .5 stars

    1. Hi Susan, that is exactly how we prepare it. We cook it first then freeze it in individual portions to enjoy later.

  8. Simple recipe to follow. I substituted passata for chopped tomatoes and turnip for potatoes – as I had just harvested my vegetables. the result was a lovely smooth sauce without the need to thicken – lovely.5 stars